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Voyage Data Recorders are innovative systems established on modern ships to secure and furnish significant details about the ship’s status.

The data collection in modern ships is operated by an expertly designed device called voyage data recorder system. Nowadays, although not all, but almost all watercraft around the globe are equipped with data recorders typically known as VDR. Essentially, Such recording system has been contemplated as the best provider of evidence or facts for an incident investigation. Furthermore The information on this VDR system can administer a very detailed knowledge of episodes leading up to a marine disaster.

The definitive steps of VDRs structure involve collecting, preserving, surveying, examining, analyzing, and reconstructing data about the ship’s overall affairs. It’s an entire arrangement for processing, encoding, and documenting of certain information that is in accordance with the IMO standards. Basically, Such specific details are essentially exploited for deep-sea accident investigation and other crucial purposes.



The Voyage Data Recording System of Modern Ships

  • Concentrator – It is usually an industrial grade computer. It accepts data from the diverse sensors of vessel onboard. It develops, encodes, and records the stream to the so-called FRM or final recording medium.
  • Sensors – These are all external tools from which the VDR system is able to receive information.
  • Sensor Interface Unit – It can be a backup instrument that provides further input lines to the concentrator.
  • FRM or Final Recording Medium – This is the capsule utilized to keep the data. It is crafted to withstand any marine casualty. Hence, making it possible to recover the voyage data in the case of a disastrous ship loss.
  • Dedicated Power Source – It is an external battery. It is exclusively employed to turn on the VDR for at least 2 hours. This is whenever there is a loss of a main and backup source of power of the ship.
  • Bridge Alarm Unit – It is a secluded interface to manage the voyage data recorder device. It is able to acknowledge system warnings and alarms.
  • Replay Stations – These are one or beyond optional computers that are used to download data. As well as, to review voyage data from the concentrator.



An accredited VDR system configuration documents detailed information, as per IMO resolution A.861(20). Such valuable recording device has a standard function of capturing data for at least twelve hours. The statistics collected by VDR systems or sometimes known as the Black Box for vessels, encompass the following:

  • The ship’s position
  • The Date and time using GPS
  • The Speed log through water or speed over ground
  • Radar as presented or AIS data if there is no off-the-shelf converter accessible for the radar video
  • Gyrocompass specifically the heading
  • VHF radio communications
  • Bridge audio including bridge wings
  • ECDIS which is a screen taking every fifteen seconds and a navigational chart list in use every ten minutes. Or, when a change of chart happens
  • Echo sounder as depth under keel
  • Hull openings particularly conditions of hull doors as specified on the bridge
  • Main alarms including all International Maritime Organization (IMO) mandatory alarms
  • Hull stress involving hull stresses and accelerations
  • Fire and Watertight doors status as determined on the bridge
  • Rudder as its order and feedback response
  • Engine or Propeller as its order and feedback response
  • Anemometer and weather vane specifically wind direction and speed
  • Thrusters encompassing direction, status, amount of thrust % or RPM



It cannot be contravened, the old times have come across many unsettled marine catastrophes due to lack of technology progress. Now, the maritime commerce simply adopts the breakthrough in technology – VDR system.

The essence of voyage data recorders is undoubtedly a logical evolution of a proven technology. Its purpose and relevance as a vessel instrument have widely been met of almost all ships worldwide.